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Brand identity design | Graphic Design | Branding

Do what you're really good at

Do what you're really good at

By Jodie Cole

Do what you're really good at

Back in May Nat, Jodie, Katie and Dave went road tripping to the D&AD (Design and Art Direction) 2024 Festival, an annual event which celebrates excellence in design and advertising, featuring workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and networking opportunities for creatives.

Despite us all being rather senior in our careers, this was actually a first for us all and we were very excited to experience the festival and learn from some of the biggest names in the creative world.

As soon as we walked through the doors we were hit with an atmosphere that was electric and brimming with energy; the DJ pumping out music, various areas to watch and discuss design and of course the free flowing coffee and breakfast pastries certainly made up for our very early start. Here’s a little overview of our favourite parts from the day.

Film with feels
Kicking things off at the event was Chaka Sobhani in conversation with acclaimed film director and producer Noam Murro – and what a start! Noam spoke so beautifully of his work and the importance of having form and craft to tell a story, that the whole audience was hooked.

NoamHe spoke of honesty in critiquing everything – ‘does it move you? Is it good or is it not good?’ And how creating work that has others saying ‘I wish I’d done that’ has to be your goal for every piece that you create. His finishing remark ‘Don't follow your dream - just do what you’re really good at’ on being asked what his advice would be to those starting out in their careers, was also very thought provoking.

Brand worlds

The absolute highlight of the day was the talk from Brian Collins and Leland Maschmeyer of Collins. Just WOW! With a very brief overview into the history of graphic design Leland went on to explain how in branding we’re currently shifting between the ‘old game’ to a ‘new game’ – we’re changing from what we did do: ‘identity systems’, to evolve into a future of creating ‘brand worlds’.

Key to creating a ‘brand world’ is to culture membership. This is what truly brings a brand to life, so understanding it is essential. A logo only gets its meaning from what it represents and so everything in your brand world has to be focussed on how it makes you feel, like you’re creating a new exclusive club. 

To create a brand world you must focus on four key areas:

  • Your visual identity: Not just the logo, but all the other design elements around it too
  • Your verbal tone of voice: Your brands character, personality, how it speaks
  • Your partnership principles: Who’s your audience or your tribe? How do you get to them?
  • Your territory and space: Where your brand sits in the world, its category.

Leland and Brian then went onto to explain how they used their model to create two excellent new brand worlds for Chobani and Bose. And their research into yogurt brands and how they look like deodorants got quite the giggle from the room too!

Collins Yogurt Brand
Deodorant Yogurt v3

Another takeout from the Collins talk was how they work. The fact that they don't have an office may not sound that controversial - but what they do have are ‘retreats’. Houses that project teams use to live together while they create their work, encouraging group collaboration and brand immersion of the highest ilk. The houses are filled with anything and everything you could imagine would make a designer feel happy, content and at home. How cool is that! 

After lunch the team split to make the most of the last sessions of the day, with a plan to knowledge share afterwords. Nat went to see a panel talk about unlocking the brand power of fandoms while Dave, Katie and Jodie took part in a mini masterclass on transforming brands using co-creation. Both actually had similarities in topic – in that understanding the audience is key to the success of a brand, and in involving your fans – your community –  can help brands stand out, become more memorable and ultimately leaders in their space. 

Take Coca Cola for instance. Did you know that ‘coke’ is the second most well known word in the world, ‘OK’ being the first’? Bonkers right! It’s through marketing initiatives such as their ‘The Magic Taste of Coke’ campaign, designed to encourage people to reminisce and share the memories they associate with their first encounter with the iconic drink, which ultimately strengthens the emotional connection between the brand and its consumers. And it’s this connection which is really the core of any brand.

As the day drew to a close,
the team definitely felt a renewed sense of purpose and creativity. It reminded us of our love for our work and how lucky we are to do what we do for a living – communicate ideas, evoking emotions, and inspiring change through the visual and written storytelling that we create.  
And as the team at Collins so cleverly put it: ’Let's make the future so irresistible, it becomes inevitable.’



If you're interested in watching any of the D&AD 2024 festival talks - they're available here for a short time.